How can project managers improve the productivity on a site?

Posted by Design & Construct on 02-Feb-2016 21:48:43

In Construction

In an ideal world, a construction project would be delivered on time, within budget and with the successful outcomes each and every time. However, the reality is that many firms struggle to handle the many expectations and objectives that come with delivering a project. 

Although some businesses are hampered with productivity issues, the right project manager can tackle these challenges by applying modern techniques and planning savvy. 


Australian construction productivity challenge

According to a report from the Business Council of Australia, maintaining productivity has been a struggle for the Australian construction industry, especially in comparison to other countries.

60 per cent of projects over $2 billion fail in Australia.

Over the past two decades, the size and scope of many projects has increased and this brings about more risk and complexity for managers to deal with. In fact, 60 per cent of projects over $2 billion fail in Australia.

The need for productivity is becoming more critical when you consider the increasing amount of money that will be dedicated to infrastructure projects. A study from McKinsey & Company predicted that infrastructure investment will increase by 109 per cent worldwide in the next 30 years, reaching a total of $13 trillion by 2030. However, 98 per cent of mega-projects face delays or overruns. 

The scope of construction projects is set to grow, and firms need to look into their construction management teams to see if they have the skills needed to handle these larger initiatives. 

What role do project managers play?

According to McKinsey & Company, project managers play a key role in improving and maintaining productivity on site. Without having the right personnel on board, projects risk running past the deadline, incurring high costs and missing the expectations of the contracting party. The main reasons for failure include poor organisation, a lack of communication, insufficient risk management and missed connections. 

However, there are some important actions and considerations that a skilled project manager can take to improve the prospects of their undertaking. One of the simplest ways to do so is to scale back projects and only build what you need. 

It is also vital that project managers have the organisational skills, communications and accountability to handle a number of complex and changeable factors. Having a long-term perspective supported by lifecycle planning and scenario mapping will also increase the likelihood of success in ongoing projects. 

Using the right tools

As research from Alexandria University highlighted, the proper utilisation of resources is a critical factor in maintaining a high level of productivity and in saving time and money. Construction is labour-intensive, so solutions often need to centre around improving the capabilities of the worker, rather than changing processes.

Technology must extend workers' capabilities.
Technology must extend workers' capabilities.

Sustainability is also the key to true productivity. Rather than aim for the highest outcomes in a day, firms should strive to maintain a steady and consistent level throughout a project.

Another key area to consider is technology. A study from the Construction Industry Institute explored the application of various methods in projects. For example, managers can use radio-frequency identification tags and global positioning satellite systems to track materials laid. In all cases of technology application, firms saw productivity increases of between 30 per cent and 45 per cent. 

Finding a project manager can be challenge for Australia, but luckily the team at Design and Construct are up to the task and can find the best talent in the market. Get in touch today to get the process started.